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Citation

 

"Social Spending, Constitutional History." By James D. Agresti. Just Facts, December 5, 2007. Updated 11/2/14. http://justfacts.com/socialspending.asp

 

Introductory Notes

 

This research contains detailed facts about the constitutional history of social spending. For basic facts, click here.

 

This is the first in a series of topics that will form our research on the issue of social spending. Future topics will include wide-ranging data and facts about federal, state and local expenditures, political stances, socioeconomic matters, media coverage, and fraud/waste.

 

Social Spending – Constitutional History

 

* The U.S. Constitution is the supreme legal authority in the United States. It is the written pact that established the U.S. government and vested it with certain powers. All Presidents, governors, and federal/state judges and legislators are "bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support" it.[1] [2]

 

* Early during the convention at which the Constitution was established, Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut and signatory to the Declaration of Independence, stated that the principal duties of a national government should be to defend against foreign danger and internal uprisings, establish treaties, and regulate/tax trade with foreign nations.[3] [4] James Madison, who would later author the Bill of Rights and become known as the "Father of the Constitution" for his central role in its formation,[5] [6] responded that these were all "important and necessary objects," but they must be combined with "providing more effectually for the security of private rights and the steady dispensation of Justice." He said that violations of these ideals "had more perhaps than any thing else, produced this convention."[7]

 

* Continuing, Madison stated that all civilized societies are "divided into different Sects, Factions, and interests," and "where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger." He asserted that this was the cause of slavery, which he referred to as "the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man." Among other "unjust laws" he ascribed to this cause were those that allowed borrowers to defraud their creditors and those that targeted certain types of properties with disproportionate taxes. Concluding, he stated it was the duty of the convention to frame a system of government that would protect the rights of the minority from the will of the majority.[8]

 

* Towards this end, the framers of the Constitution developed a system of checks and balances on the powers of the government that they formed.[9] Guarding this system while giving it flexibility is Article V, which allows the Constitution to be amended via supermajority votes in either of the following manners:

 

1) By a proposal passed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, followed by approval of three-quarters of the states.

 

2) By a proposal made at a convention requested by two-thirds of the states, followed by approval of three-quarters of the states.[10]

 

* In his farewell address to the nation, George Washington, the president of the Constitutional Convention and the first U.S. President,[11] [12] stated:

 

If in the opinion of the People the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.[13]

 


 

* After the Constitution was signed by the framers, it was submitted to the individual states for ratification. Written into the Constitution are the conditions that it would only be binding on the states that ratified it and would not become effective until at least nine of the states did so.[14] [15] During this ratification process, which lasted for three years,[16] there was opposition to the Constitution on several grounds, one of which was that it concentrated too much power in the hands of the federal government.[17] [18] [19]

 

* In an effort to build support for the proposed Constitution,[20] three prominent statesmen collaborated in a series of essays known as the Federalist Papers, which explained the Constitution and addressed objections to it. They were initially written to the people of New York and appeared in New York newspapers, but were later assembled into book form and published throughout the states. The three authors were Alexander Hamilton (delegate from the state of New York and later the first Treasury Secretary of the U.S.), James Madison (delegate from the state of Virginia and later the fourth President of the U.S.), and John Jay (former president of the Continental Congress and later the first chief justice of the Supreme Court).[21] Although the Federalist Papers were written by three individuals, all were signed with a single pen name, "Publius." The book version of the Federalist Papers was edited by Alexander Hamilton, and the author's name was given as "a Citizen of New-York."[22]

 

* Several of the objections voiced against the Constitution pertained to Article I, Section 8, which reads:

 

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

 

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States...

 

[The next fifteen clauses are like the one above in that they grant specific powers to the federal government such as regulating commerce with foreign nations, coining money, enacting immigration and bankruptcy laws, establishing federal courts and Post Offices, issuing patents and copyrights, declaring war, raising armies, and governing Washington D.C. and other federal properties.];

 

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.[23]

 

* One of the objections to this article was that the phrase, "provide for the common Defense and general Welfare," gave the federal government broad powers to do whatever it felt was appropriate towards these ends.[24] In Federalist Paper 41, James Madison addressed this objection by stating that the phrase applied to and was limited by the specific powers detailed in the clauses that followed it (such as coining money, establishing federal courts, etc.). He said that to interpret the Constitution in any other way was "an absurdity." He also wrote:

 

Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.[25]

 

* In Federalist Paper 33 (January 3, 1788), Alexander Hamilton addressed the objection that the last clause of Article 8, which grants the authority to make "all Laws" needed to carry out the powers vested in the Constitution, gave the federal government too much unrestricted power.[26] In response, Hamilton wrote that the clause was "perfectly harmless" and only served to declare "a truth" that is a natural consequence of forming "a federal government and vesting it with certain specified powers." He also wrote that it was an exaggeration to refer to this language as "sweeping," and "if there is any thing exceptionable, it must be sought for in the specific powers upon which this general declaration is predicated."[27]

 

* Between December 1787 and January 1791, the Constitution was ratified by all of the states.[28] Eleven months after the last state ratified it, Alexander Hamilton wrote a letter in which he asserted that the phrase "general Welfare" granted authority to the federal government beyond the specific powers detailed in Article 8. He said this phrase was "as comprehensive as any that could have been used" and it "embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition."[29]

 

* This stance precipitated a clash that led to the formation of the first two political parties in the United States: the Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Republicans led by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the U.S. (The Republicans later came to be called the "Democratic-Republicans," and the modern Democratic Party traces their roots to this party, citing Thomas Jefferson as "the first Democratic President.")[30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]

 


 

* Conflict regarding the interpretation of the "general Welfare" clause spilled over into the 1800's, during which it was a recurring issue whether or not the federal government had the authority to subsidize various projects on the grounds they promoted the general welfare. The name used for such activities was "internal improvements," and this entailed items such as building roads and constructing canals on lands that were not federally owned.[37] [38]

 

* In 1817, James Madison, as President of the United States, vetoed an act "to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements." In doing so, he stated that the federal government did not have this power and to allow for it would require a distorted interpretation of the Constitution.[39] [40]

 

* When Madison vetoed this act, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter praising this action and stating it was always "our tenet" that Congress does not have

 

unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated.

 

Jefferson also wrote he thought it was "fortunate" that Madison had the opportunity to veto such a bill because it

 

will settle forever the meaning of this phrase, which, by a mere grammatical quibble, has countenanced the General Government in a claim of universal power.[41] [42]

 

* In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected President of the United States. While in office, he proposed and signed various laws that appropriated federal funds for building roads, improving harbors, and subsidizing the arts and sciences.[43] [44] [45] While campaigning for President, he wrote the following to a voter who had asked about his view on internal improvements:

 

I offered, in the Senate of the United States … the first resolution, as I believe, that ever was presented to Congress, contemplating a general system of internal improvement. … [A]lthough highly respecting the purity of intention of those who object, on constitutional grounds, to the exercise of this power, it is with heartfelt satisfaction that I perceive those objections gradually yielding to the paramount influence of the general welfare.[46]

 

* In 1844, Democrat James Polk was elected President of the United States.[47] The argument was then being made that the following language in Article 8 of the Constitution gave the federal government authority to spend money on improving harbors and rivers:

 

The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce … among the several States….[48] [49]

 

* In a message to Congress, Polk responded that the phrase, "to regulate commerce,"

 

does not mean to make a road, or dig a canal, or clear out a river, or deepen a harbor…. To "regulate" admits or affirms the pre-existence of the thing to be regulated. … It confers no creative power…. If the power to regulate can be legitimately construed into a power to create or facilitate … it is impossible for the human mind to fix on a limit to the exercise of the power other than the will and discretion of Congress.[50]

 

* In 1848, the Democratic Party adopted a platform stating that the "federal government is one of limited powers" and

 

the Constitution does not confer upon the general government the power to commence and carry on a general system of internal improvements.[51]

 

* Three weeks after this platform was adopted, Abraham Lincoln, who was at the time a U.S. Congressman and a member of the Whig Party, gave a speech criticizing the Democratic Party's stance on this issue. He briefly reviewed the opinions of past Presidents and jurists both pro and con, noted that the matter has not yet been brought under judicial consideration, and asserted there was no reason to worry about the constitutionality of such acts. He also stated:

 

I wish now to submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending the Constitution. As a general rule, I think we would do much better to let it alone. No slight occasion should tempt us to touch it. Better not take the first step, which may lead to a habit of altering it.[52]

 

* In 1856, Abraham Lincoln joined a new party that had been formed two years earlier on the basis of opposition to slavery.[53] [54] The name "Republican" was chosen for the party because the founders of it considered their principles to be aligned with that of Thomas Jefferson and the party he originally formed.[55] [56] The first Republican platform (1856) called for "restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson." It also stated that

 

appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.[57] [58]

 

* In 1887, Congress passed a bill to supply seeds to drought-stricken farmers in Texas. Democratic President Grover Cleveland vetoed it, stating:

 

I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution….[59]

 

* In 1900, the Republican Party adopted a platform that voiced approval for "the improvement of the roads and highways," but referred the matter to the states.[60]

 

* In 1900, the Democratic Party adopted a platform stating that the President and Congress derived their "existence" and "powers" from the Constitution and denounced the idea that they could "exercise lawful authority beyond it or in violation of it." It also criticized a Republican-backed subsidy for the shipping industry and called for a "return to the time-honored Democratic policy of strict economy in governmental expenditures."[61]

 


 

* In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democratic governor of New York, was elected President of the United States.[62] The Great Depression had begun in 1929,[63] and upon accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party, Roosevelt promised a "new deal" for Americans. This entailed the elimination of nonessential government functions, an increase in government projects to stimulate employment, shortened working hours, and increased prices for agricultural goods to benefit the farming industry. In this acceptance speech, Roosevelt stated:

 

I know something of taxes. For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that Government—Federal and State and local—costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching. …

 

I say that while primary responsibility for relief rests with localities now, as ever, yet the Federal Government has always had and still has a continuing responsibility for the broader public welfare.[64] [65]

 

* As President, Roosevelt proposed a variety of bills to Congress. The House and Senate contained large Democratic majorities and passed most of Roosevelt's proposals.[66] [67] [68] This included, among other measures, the formation of 21 new federal agencies,[69] money for people with financial hardships,[70] money for federal housing projects,[71] the formation of the Social Security program,[72] government projects that employed millions of people,[73] payments to farmers to decrease their output so as to raise the prices of agricultural goods,[74] [75] and low interest loans to help individuals in paying their mortgages.[76] [77]

 

* Much of this legislation was challenged in court, and between January 1935 and May 1936, the Supreme Court ruled on ten such major cases. In eight of these, the laws were stricken down in part or entirety for overstepping the bounds of power granted to the federal government in the Constitution.[78] Four of the nine justices generally ruled against the New Deal programs, three generally ruled in favor of them, and two of the justices were swing votes.[79]

 

* In Carter v. Carter Coal Company, the Supreme Court (voting 6-3) struck down a federal law that placed taxes on coal, fixed coal prices, paid money to coal producers who agreed to follow federal edicts, and established provisions for industry-wide wage requirements.[80] The majority ruling stated that the Constitutional Convention

 

declined to confer upon Congress power in such general terms; instead of which it carefully limited the powers which it thought wise to entrust to Congress by specifying them, thereby denying all others not granted expressly or by necessary implication. It made no grant of authority to Congress to legislate substantively for the general welfare…. It is safe to say that if, when the Constitution was under consideration, it had been thought that any such danger lurked behind its plain words, it would never have been ratified.[81]

 

* In Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down a law that gave the President the power to enact separate "codes of fair competition" for wide-ranging industries and trades. This included the authority to fix the prices of goods and services, set minimum wages, set maximum working hours, and at the discretion of the President, revoke the business license of anyone he judged to be incompliant with these codes.[82] [83] [84]

 

* Seven of the nine justices joined in the majority ruling, and the two remaining justices concurred with differing language. In this decision, the majority cited the Tenth Amendment, which affirms that any powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the States or to the people. The ruling stated:

 

Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power. The Constitution established a national government with powers deemed to be adequate, as they have proved to be both in war and peace, but these powers of the national government are limited by the constitutional grants. … Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President to exercise an unfettered discretion to make whatever laws he thinks may be needed or advisable for the rehabilitation and expansion of trade or industry. … It is not the province of the Court to consider the economic advantages or disadvantages of such a centralized system. It is sufficient to say that the Federal Constitution does not provide for it.[85]

 

* Four days after this decision was issued, Roosevelt held a press conference in which he asserted that the "implications of this decision are much more important than certainly any decision of my lifetime or yours," and that the Supreme Court had "relegated" the U.S. to a "horse and buggy" interpretation of the Constitution. When a reporter asked him if there was any suggestion as to how to resolve the matter outside of a Constitutional Amendment, Roosevelt replied. "No; we haven't gotten to that yet."[86]

 

* Four months before this press conference, Roosevelt's Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, recorded the following in his diary:

 

The Attorney General went so far as to say that if the Court went against the Government, the number of justices should be increased at once so as to give a favorable majority. As a matter of fact, the President suggested this possibility to me during our interview on Thursday, and I told him that is precisely what ought to be done.[87]

 

* The following year, Roosevelt won reelection by a broad margin, and the Democratic Party expanded its majorities in the House and Senate.[88] [89] After his term began, Roosevelt proposed a bill that would have granted him provisions to appoint up to six more justices to the Supreme Court.[90] [91] [92] At the press conference in which he announced this proposal, he stated:

 

Our difficulty with the Court today rises not from the Court as an institution but from the human beings within it.

 

He also stated that the framers of the Constitution gave Congress "ample broad powers" to provide for the "general welfare," and that the Court was

 

reading into the Constitution words and implications which are not there, and which were never intended to be there.[93]

 

* Seven years before this, as the governor of New York, Roosevelt stated:

 

It must be obvious that almost every new or old problem of government must be solved … by each State in its own way. There are many glaring examples where exclusive Federal control is manifestly against the scheme and intent of our Constitution.[94]

 

* In the four months after Roosevelt proposed his bill to alter the composition of the Supreme Court,[95] the Court ruled in six cases concerning New Deal legislation. In all of these decisions, the Court voted to uphold the acts under consideration. Five of these cases were decided by a 5 to 4 margin, with the two swing justices casting the determinative votes.[96] [97] [98] [99] [100] [101] [102]

 

* In Steward Machine Company v. Davis, the Supreme Court (voting 5-4) upheld a federal law imposing new taxes that were ultimately given to unemployed people.[103] [104] In this decision, the majority cited unemployment statistics and stated:

 

It is too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of the moneys of the nation to relieve the unemployed and their dependents is a use for any purpose narrower than the promotion of the general welfare. … The parens patriae [Latin for "parent of the country"] has many reasons—fiscal and economic as well as social and moral—for planning to mitigate disasters that bring these burdens in their train.

 

The two swing justices, Charles Evan Hughes and Owen J. Roberts joined in this decision.[105] [106]

 

* One year earlier, Justice Roberts joined in a decision that stated the Constitution

 

made no grant of authority to Congress to legislate substantively for the general welfare….[107]

 

One year before this, Justice Roberts joined in a decision written by Justice Hughes that stated:

 

Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power.[108]

 

* In the same month that the last of these decisions was issued, one of the justices who generally ruled against the New Deal programs announced his retirement. The next month, Roosevelt's bill to add justices to the Supreme Court was defeated in the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 10 to 8.[109] [110] Seven of the ten Senators voting against this bill were Democrats.[111]

 

* Over the next two years, all of the justices that generally found the New Deal programs to be unconstitutional either retired or passed on.[112] In 1938, Roosevelt stated:

 

We obtained 98 percent of all the objectives intended by the Court plan.[113]

 

* By 1944, seven of the nine justices on the Supreme Court had been appointed by Roosevelt.[114] Over the next half century, the Supreme Court did not rule any major social spending program to be unconstitutional.[115]

_______

* In 2013, the federal government spent 61% of its finances on housing and community services, welfare and social services, recreation and culture, health, education, retirement benefits, disability benefits and unemployment benefits. This amounts to $2.279 trillion or an average of $18,610 for every household in the U.S.[116]

 

† Social spending includes housing and community services, welfare and social services, recreation and culture, health, education, retirement benefits, disability benefits and unemployment benefits.

‡ National defense includes military spending and veterans' benefits.

§ General government and debt service includes the executive & legislative branches, tax collection, financial management, and interest payments.

# Economic affairs includes transportation, general economic & labor affairs, agriculture, natural resources, energy, and space.

£ Public order and safety includes police, fire, law courts, and prisons.

[117]

 

Sources

 

[1] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article 6, Clause 2:

 

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

 

Article VI, Clause 3:

 

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." Article 1, Section 2, Clause 8: "Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, [the President] shall take the following Oath or Affirmation…:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

 

[2] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 1, By Alexander Hamilton. October 27, 1787:

 

AFTER an unequivocal experience of the inefficiency of the subsisting federal government, you are called upon to deliberate on a new Constitution for the United States of America. The subject speaks its own importance; comprehending in its consequences nothing less than the existence of the UNION, the safety and welfare of the parts of which it is composed, the fate of an empire in many respects the most interesting in the world. It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.

 

Federalist Paper 2, By John Jay, Alexander Hamilton. October 31, 1787:

 

Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers. It is well worthy of consideration therefore, whether it would conduce more to the interest of the people of America that they should, to all general purposes, be one nation, under one federal government, or that they should divide themselves into separate confederacies, and give to the head of each the same kind of powers which they are advised to place in one national government.

 

[3] Article: "Sherman, Roger." Contributor: Jere Daniell (Ph.D., Former Professor of History, Dartmouth College). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

[T]he only person who signed all four of these great documents: the Articles of Association (1774), the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777), and the Constitution of the United States (1787). …

 

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Sherman presented the Great Compromise, sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise. It resolved the differences between the large and small states on representation in the national legislature.

 

[4] Book: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, which framed the Constitution of the United States of America, reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia. Edited by Gaillard Hund and James Brown Scott. Oxford University Press, 1920. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

 

June 6, 1787. Roger Sherman:

 

The objects of the Union, he thought were few. 1. defence agst. foreign danger. 2. agst. internal disputes & a resort to force. 3. Treaties with foreign nations. 4. regulating foreign commerce, & drawing revenue from it. These & perhaps a few lesser objects alone rendered a Confederation of the States necessary. All other matters civil & criminal would be much better in the hands of the States. The people are more happy in small than large States. States may indeed be too small as Rhode Island, & thereby be too subject to faction. Some others were perhaps too large, the powers of Govt. not being able to pervade them. He was for giving the General Govt. power to legislate and execute within a defined province.

 

[5] Book: The Bill of Rights and the States: The Colonial and Revolutionary Origins of American Liberties. Edited by Patrick T. Conley & John P. Kaminski. Madison House Publishers, 1992. Pages 461-514: "The Bill of Rights: A Bibliographic Essay." By Gaspare J. Saladino. Page 484:

 

The best historical treatments of the legislative history of the Bill of Rights in the first federal Congress are… [six works mentioned]. All agree that James Madison, against considerable odds, took the lead in the House of Representatives, and that without his efforts there probably would have been no Bill of Rights. Madison's amendments, a distillation of those from the state conventions (especially Virginia's) were, for the most part, those that the House eventually adopted.

 

[6] Article: "Madison, James." Contributor: Robert J. Brugger (Ph.D., Editor, Maryland Historical Magazine, Maryland Historical Society). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

Madison, James (1751-1836), the fourth president of the United States, is often called the Father of the Constitution. He played a leading role in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where he helped design the checks and balances that operate among Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court. He also helped create the U.S. federal system, which divides power between the central government and the states.

 

[7] Book: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, which framed the Constitution of the United States of America, reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia. Edited by Gaillard Hund and James Brown Scott. Oxford University Press, 1920. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

 

June 6, 1787:

 

James Madison … differed from the member from Connecticut [Mr. Sherman] in thinking the objects mentioned to be all the principal ones that required a National Govt. Those were certainly important and necessary objects; but he combined with them the necessity of providing more effectually for the security of private rights, and the steady dispensation of Justice. Interferences with these were evils which had more perhaps than any thing else, produced this convention.

 

[8] Book: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, which framed the Constitution of the United States of America, reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia. Edited by Gaillard Hund and James Brown Scott. Oxford University Press, 1920. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

 

June 6, 1787:

 

All civilized Societies would be divided into different Sects, Factions, & interests, as they happened to consist of rich & poor, debtors & creditors, the landed, the manufacturing, the commercial interests, the inhabitants of this district or that district, the followers of this political leader or that political leader, the disciples of this religious Sect or that religious Sect. In all cases where a majority are united by a common interest or passion, the rights of the minority are in danger. What motives are to restrain them? A prudent regard to the maxim that honesty is the best policy is found by experience to be as little regarded by bodies of men as by individuals. Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided. Conscience, the only remaining tie, is known to be inadequate in individuals: In large numbers, little is to be expected from it. Besides, Religion itself may become a motive to persecution & oppression. – These observations are verified by the Histories of every Country antient & modern. In Greece & Rome the rich & poor, the creditors & debtors, as well as the patricians & plebians alternately oppressed each other with equal unmercifulness. What a source of oppression was the relation between the parent cities of Rome, Athens & Carthage, & their respective provinces: the former possessing the power, & the latter being sufficiently distinguished to be separate objects of it? Why was America so justly apprehensive of Parliamentary injustice? Because G. Britain had a separate interest real or supposed, & if her authority had been admitted, could have pursued that interest at our expence. We have seen the mere distinction of colour made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man. What has been the source of those unjust laws complained of among ourselves? Has it not been the real or supposed interest of the major number? Debtors have defrauded their creditors. The landed interest has borne hard on the mercantile interest. The Holders of one species of property have thrown a disproportion of taxes on the holders of another species. The lesson we are to draw from the whole is that where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure. In a Republican Govt. the Majority if united have always an opportunity. The only remedy is to enlarge the sphere, & thereby divide the community into so great a number of interests & parties, that in the 1st. place a majority will not be likely at the same moment to have a common interest separate from that of the whole or of the minority; and in the 2d. place, that in case they shd. have such an interest, they may not be apt to unite in the pursuit of it. It was incumbent on us then to try this remedy, and with that view to frame a republican system on such a scale & in such a form as will controul all the evils wch. have been experienced.

 

[9] Book: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, which framed the Constitution of the United States of America, reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia. Edited by Gaillard Hund and James Brown Scott. Oxford University Press, 1920. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

 

{The objective of implementing checks and balances to curtail government power pervades these proceedings. For two examples of many:}

 

On May 31, 1787, Edmund Randolph of Virginia

 

observed that the general object was to provide a cure for the evils under which the U. S. laboured; that in tracing these evils to their origin every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy: that some check therefore was to be sought for agst. this tendency of our Governments: and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.

 

On September 12, 1787, James Madison asserted:

 

It was an important principle in this & in the State Constitutions to check legislative injustice and encroachments. The Experience of the States had demonstrated that their checks are insufficient.

 

[10] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article V:

 

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

 

{This effectively provides four different methods by which the Constitution can be amended, but for the sake of simplicity, I used the phrase "approval of … the states" to denote ratification by either their legislatures or through conventions.}

 

[11] Book: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, which framed the Constitution of the United States of America, reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia. Edited by Gaillard Hund and James Brown Scott. Oxford University Press, 1920. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/debcont.asp

 

May 25, 1787 (First day of the Constitutional Convention):

 

Robert Morris … informed the members assembled that by the instruction & in behalf, of the deputation of Pena. he proposed George Washington Esqr. late Commander in chief for president of the Convention. Mr. JNo. RUTLIDGE seconded the motion; expressing his confidence that the choice would be unanimous, and observing that the presence of Genl. Washington forbade any observations on the occasion which might otherwise be proper. General WASHINGTON was accordingly unanimously elected by ballot, and conducted to the Chair by Mr. R. Morris and Mr. Rutlidge; from which in a very emphatic manner he thanked the Convention for the honor they had conferred on him, reminded them of the novelty of the scene of business in which he was to act, lamented his want of better qualifications, and claimed the indulgence of the House towards the involuntary errors which his inexperience might occasion.

 

[12] Article: "Washington, George." Contributor: Philander D. Chase (Ph.D., Editor, The Papers of George Washington). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

[13] Farewell Address of George Washington, September 19, 1796. http://www.pbs.org/georgewashington/multimedia/heston/farewell_address.html

 

[14] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article VII:

 

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

 

[15] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 39, By James Madison. January 16, 1788:

  

Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act.

 

[16] The Constitution was signed by the framers and sent to the states for ratification on September 17, 1787. The states ratified the Constitution as such:

 

Delaware, December 7, 1787

Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787

New Jersey, December 18, 1787

Georgia, January 2, 1788

Connecticut, January 9, 1788

Massachusetts, February 6, 1788

Maryland, April 28, 1788

South Carolina, May 23, 1788

New Hampshire, June 21, 1788

 

The ratification of the nine states above made the Constitution effective and binding upon them only. The rest of the states ratified it on the following dates:

 

Virginia, June 25, 1788

New York, July 26, 1788

North Carolina, November 21, 1789

Rhode Island, May 29, 1790

Vermont, January 10, 1791

 

[17] Book: The Federalist. Edited with an introduction and notes by Jacob E. Cooke. Wesleyan University Press, 1961. Page xi:

 

The Federalist, addressed to the People of the State of New York, was occasioned by the objections of many New Yorkers to the Constitution which had been proposed… [T]he pages of New York newspapers were filled with articles denouncing the new frame of government.

 

[18] Book: The AntiFederalist Papers. Edited with an introduction by Morton Borden. Michigan State University Press, 1965. Antifederalist Paper 32, By Brutus. Published December 27, 1787 in The New-York Journal. [Regarding the proposed constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "common defense and general welfare," and Clause 18: "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper."]

 

It is therefore evident, that the legislature under this constitution may pass any law which they think proper. … Not only are these terms very comprehensive, and extend to a vast number of objects, but the power to lay and collect has great latitude; it will lead to the passing a vast number of laws, which may affect the personal rights of the citizens of the states, expose their property to fines and confiscation, and put their lives in jeopardy. It opens the door to a swarm of revenue and excise officers to prey upon the honest and industrious part of the community, [and] eat up their substance.… 

 

Antifederalist Paper 33, By Brutus. Published December 27, 1787 in The New-York Journal. [Regarding the proposed constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "Power To lay and collect Taxes" to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare."]

 

This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every corner of the city, and country… To provide for the general welfare is an abstract proposition, which mankind differ in the explanation of, as much as they do on any political or moral proposition that can be proposed; the most opposite measures may be pursued by different parties, and both may profess, that they have in view the general welfare… The government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good; and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always, judge for themselves.

 

[19] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 1, By Alexander Hamilton. October 27, 1787:

 

Among the most formidable of the obstacles which the new Constitution will have to encounter may readily be distinguished the obvious interest of a certain class of men in every State to resist all changes which may hazard a diminution of the power, emolument, and consequence of the offices they hold under the State establishments… But the fact is, that we already hear it whispered in the private circles of those who oppose the new Constitution, that the thirteen States are of too great extent for any general system, and that we must of necessity resort to separate confederacies of distinct portions of the whole.1 [1: The same idea, tracing the arguments to their consequences, is held out in several of the late publications against the new Constitution.]

 

Federalist Paper 41, By James Madison. January 19, 1788:

 

It has been urged and echoed, that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare.

 

Federalist Paper 85, By Alexander Hamilton. May 28, 1788:

 

The charge of a conspiracy against the liberties of the people, which has been indiscriminately brought against the advocates of the plan, has something in it too wanton and too malignant, not to excite the indignation of every man who feels in his own bosom a refutation of the calumny.

 

[20] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 1, By Alexander Hamilton. October 27, 1787:

 

Yes, my countrymen, I own to you that, after having given it an attentive consideration, I am clearly of opinion it is your interest to adopt it. I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness.

 

[21] Articles: "Hamilton, Alexander," "Madison, James," "Jay, John." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

[22] Book: The Federalist. Edited with an introduction and notes by Jacob E. Cooke. Wesleyan University Press, 1961. Page xi:

 

The Federalist, addressed to the People of the State of New York, was occasioned by the objections of many New Yorkers to the Constitution which had been proposed… [T]he pages of New York newspapers were filled with articles denouncing the new frame of government. … The decision to publish [the] series of essays… was made by Alexander Hamilton.

 

Pages xiv-xv:

 

The first edition, printed by J. and A. McLean and corrected by Hamilton, is the source from which most editions of The Federalist have been taken. … McLean, having observed "the avidity" with which the "Publius" essays had been sought after by politicians and persons of every description," announced plans for the publication of "The FEDERALIST, A Collection of Essays, written in favour of the New Constitution, By a Citizen of New-York, Corrected by the Author, with Additions and alterations. [The first 36 essays were collectively published in a book dated March 22, 1788. On May 28 of the same year, the rest of the essays that appeared in newspapers were published in book form along with eight more written by Hamilton. These last eight essays were subsequently published in newspapers.]

 

Page xvi:

 

The McLean and Hopkins editions thus constitute Hamilton's revision of the text of The Federalist. He made some minor changes in essays written by John Jay and James Madison – changes which in the McLean edition they presumably authorized by allowing him to revise the work for publication in book form.

 

Page xvii:

 

All changes which Hamilton and Madison made or approved in the texts of the essays they wrote have been indicated in the notes." {I found no such changes in any of the quotations cited below.}

 

Page xix:

 

Like most other eighteenth century newspaper contributors, the authors of The Federalist chose to wrote anonymously.

 

[23] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article I, Section 8:

 

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

 

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

 

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

 

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

 

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

 

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

 

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

 

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

 

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

 

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

 

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

 

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

 

To provide and maintain a Navy;

 

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

 

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

 

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

 

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

 

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

 

[24] Book: The AntiFederalist Papers. Edited with an introduction by Morton Borden. Michigan State University Press, 1965. Antifederalist Paper 32, By Brutus. Published December 27, 1787 in The New-York Journal. [Regarding the proposed constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "common defense and general welfare," and Clause 18: "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper."]

 

It is therefore evident, that the legislature under this constitution may pass any law which they think proper.

 

Antifederalist Paper 33, By Brutus. Published December 27, 1787 in The New-York Journal. [Regarding the proposed constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "Power To lay and collect Taxes" to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare."]

 

This power, exercised without limitation, will introduce itself into every corner of the city, and country… To provide for the general welfare is an abstract proposition, which mankind differ in the explanation of, as much as they do on any political or moral proposition that can be proposed; the most opposite measures may be pursued by different parties, and both may profess, that they have in view the general welfare… The government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good; and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always, judge for themselves.

 

{See also the next footnote.}

 

[25] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 41, By James Madison. January 19, 1788:

 

It has been urged and echoed, that the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

 

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms "to raise money for the general welfare."

 

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

 

The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are "their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare." The terms of article eighth are still more identical: "All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury," etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation! PUBLIUS.

 

[26] Book: The AntiFederalist Papers. Edited with an introduction by Morton Borden. Michigan State University Press, 1965. Antifederalist Paper 32, By Brutus. Published December 27, 1787 in The New-York Journal. [Regarding the proposed constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 1: "common defense and general welfare," and Clause 18: "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper."]

 

It is therefore evident, that the legislature under this constitution may pass any law which they think proper. … Not only are these terms very comprehensive, and extend to a vast number of objects, but the power to lay and collect has great latitude; it will lead to the passing a vast number of laws, which may affect the personal rights of the citizens of the states, expose their property to fines and confiscation, and put their lives in jeopardy. It opens the door to a swarm of revenue and excise officers to prey upon the honest and industrious part of the community, [and] eat up their substance.... 

 

{See also the next footnote.}

 

[27] The Federalist Papers. By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison. October 27, 1787- May 28, 1788. http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext98/feder10a.txt

 

Federalist Paper 33, By Alexander Hamilton. January 3, 1788:

 

THE residue of the argument against the provisions of the Constitution in respect to taxation is ingrafted upon the following clause. The last clause of the eighth section of the first article of the plan under consideration authorizes the national legislature 'to make all laws which shall be NECESSARY and PROPER for carrying into execution THE POWERS by that Constitution vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof'; and the second clause of the sixth article declares, 'that the Constitution and the laws of the United States made IN  PURSUANCE THEREOF, and the treaties made by their authority shall be the SUPREME LAW of the land, any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.'

 

These two clauses have been the source of much virulent invective and petulant declamation against the proposed Constitution. They have been held up to the people in all the exaggerated colors of misrepresentation as the pernicious engines by which their local governments were to be destroyed and their liberties exterminated; as the hideous monster whose devouring jaws would spare neither sex nor age, nor high nor low, nor sacred nor profane; and yet, strange as it may appear, after all this clamor, to those who may not have happened to contemplate them in the same light, it may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the intended government would be precisely the same, if these clauses were entirely obliterated, as if they were repeated in every article. They are only declaratory of a truth which would have resulted by necessary and unavoidable implication from the very act of constituting a federal government, and vesting it with certain specified powers. This is so clear a proposition, that moderation itself can scarcely listen to the railings which have been so copiously vented against this part of the plan, without emotions that disturb its equanimity. …

 

And it is EXPRESSLY to execute these powers that the sweeping clause, as it has been affectedly [exaggeratedly] called, authorizes the national legislature to pass all NECESSARY and PROPER laws. If there is any thing exceptionable, it must be sought for in the specific powers upon which this general declaration is predicated. The declaration itself, though it may be chargeable with tautology or redundancy, is at least perfectly harmless.

 

[28] The Constitution was signed by the framers and sent to the states for ratification on September 17, 1787. The states ratified the Constitution as such:

 

Delaware, December 7, 1787

Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787

New Jersey, December 18, 1787

Georgia, January 2, 1788

Connecticut, January 9, 1788

Massachusetts, February 6, 1788

Maryland, April 28, 1788

South Carolina, May 23, 1788

New Hampshire, June 21, 1788

 

The ratification of the nine states above made the Constitution effective and binding upon them only. The rest of the states ratified it on the following dates:

 

Virginia, June 25, 1788

New York, July 26, 1788

North Carolina, November 21, 1789

Rhode Island, May 29, 1790

Vermont, January 10, 1791

 

[29] Letter: "Report on Manufactures." By Alexander Hamilton. December 5, 1791.

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a1_8_1s21.html

 

The terms "general Welfare" were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those which Preceded; otherwise numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a Nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union, to appropriate its revenues shou'd have been restricted within narrower limits than the "General Welfare" and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.

 

[30] "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin." June 16, 1817. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php

?title=808&chapter=88365&layout=html&Itemid=27

 

You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, after passing both Houses, was negatived by the President. The act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in the constitution which authorizes Congress "to lay taxes, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare," was an extension of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote the general welfare; and this, you know, was the federal doctrine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the only landmark which now divides the federalists from the republicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated….

 

[31] Article: "Hamilton, Alexander." Contributor: Richard Brookhiser (Senior Editor, National Review; author of Alexander Hamilton, American). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

In the early 1790's, the conflicts between Hamilton and a group led by Jefferson and Madison resulted in the development of the nation's first two political parties.

 

[32] Article: "Jefferson, Thomas." Contributor: Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. (Ph.D., Curators' Professor Emeritus of History, University of Missouri, Columbia). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

Congress appointed a committee to draw up a declaration of independence. … The committee unanimously asked Jefferson to prepare the draft and approved it with few changes. … The members of Congress made some changes, but, as Richard Lee said: "the Thing in its nature is so good that no cookery can spoil the dish for the palates of freemen."

 

[33] Article: "Federalist Party." Contributor: Donald R. Hickey (Ph.D., Professor of History, Wayne State College). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

The Federalist Party developed under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton, Washington's secretary of the treasury. Hamilton believed that the Constitution should be loosely interpreted to build up federal power. … Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed Hamilton. Their followers became known as Democratic-Republicans.

 

[34] Article: "Federalist Party." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004.

 

President George Washington was able to exercise nonpartisan leadership during the first few years of the new government (begun in 1789). Strong division, however, developed over the fiscal program of the secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, whom Washington supported. … the opposition, organized by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson beginning in 1791, became the Republican Party, later known as the National Republican, and eventually as the modern Democratic Party.

 

[35] Article: "Jefferson, Thomas." Contributor: Noble E. Cunningham, Jr. (Ph.D., Curators' Professor Emeritus of History, University of Missouri, Columbia). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

Jefferson led the Democratic-Republicans (called Republicans at the time, though some historians regard it as the origin of the modern Democratic Party).

 

[36] Web Page: "Party History." Democratic National Committee. Accessed November 15, 2007 at http://www.democrats.org/a/party/history.html

 

The late Ron Brown — former Chairman of the Democratic Party — put it best when he wrote, "The common thread of Democratic history, from Thomas Jefferson to Bill Clinton, has been an abiding faith in the judgment of hardworking American families, and a commitment to helping the excluded, the disenfranchised and the poor strengthen our nation by earning themselves a piece of the American Dream. We remember that this great land was sculpted by immigrants and slaves, their children and grandchildren."

 

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party. In 1798, the "party of the common man" was officially named the Democratic-Republican Party and in 1800 elected Jefferson as the first Democratic President of the United States.

 

[37] {Substantiation of these facts is presented in the following 20 footnotes.}

 

[38] Book: Life of James Knox Polk and a History of His Administration. By John S. Jenkins. Burnett & Bostwick, 1854. Pages 337-355: "Special Message On Internal Improvements, December 15th, 1847. To the House of Representatives." Page 349:

 

The power to improve their own harbors and rivers was clearly reserved to the States, who were to be aided by tonnage duties levied and collected by themselves, with the consent of Congress. For thirty-four years improvements were carried on under that system, and so careful was Congress not to interfere, under any implied power, with the soil or jurisdiction of the States, that they did not even assume the power to erect lighthouses or build piers without first purchasing the ground, with the consent of the States, and obtaining jurisdiction over it.

 

[39] Book: Life of James Knox Polk and a History of His Administration. By John S. Jenkins. Burnett & Bostwick, 1854. Pages 337-355: "Special Message On Internal Improvements, December 15th, 1847. To the House of Representatives." Page 351:

 

President Madison, in a message to the House of Representatives of the 3rd of March, 1817, assigning his objections to a bill entitled "An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements," declares that "the power to regulate commerce among the several States cannot include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water-courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such commerce, without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress."

 

{See next footnote for the section of the Constitution Madison was referring to.}

 

[40] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article I, Section 8:

 

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States …

 

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes…

 

[41] Book: The Life of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States. By George Tucker. Volume 2. Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1837. Page 403:

 

At the session of Congress of 1816-17, an act for some internal improvement having passed both houses of Congress, it was negatived by Mr. Madison as unconstitutional. In a letter to Mr. Gallatin, then in Paris, dated June 16, 1817, he thus expresses his opinion on one of the most controverted questions under the constitution....

 

[42] "Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin." June 16, 1817. http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php

?title=808&chapter=88365&layout=html&Itemid=27

 

You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, after passing both Houses, was negatived by the President. The act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in the constitution which authorizes Congress "to lay taxes, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare," was an extension of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote the general welfare; and this, you know, was the federal doctrine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the only landmark which now divides the federalists from the republicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. I think the passage and rejection of this bill a fortunate incident. Every State will certainly concede the power; and this will be a national confirmation of the grounds of appeal to them, and will settle forever the meaning of this phrase, which, by a mere grammatical quibble, has countenanced the General Government in a claim of universal power. For in the phrase, "to lay taxes, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare," it is a mere question of syntax, whether the two last infinitives are governed by the first or are distinct and co-ordinate powers; a question unequivocally decided by the exact definition of powers immediately following.

 

[43] Article: "John Quincy Adams." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2007

http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761577199/John_Quincy_Adams.html

 

He advocated using federal funds for new canals, highways, harbor improvements, a stronger navy, military schools, and a national university. States' rights advocates in Congress opposed the federal government's assuming these responsibilities and refused to support the president. His request for funds to promote the arts and sciences, specifically to support scientific research and to build astronomical observatories, was especially criticized.

 

[44] Book: Life of James Knox Polk and a History of His Administration. By John S. Jenkins. Burnett & Bostwick, 1854. Pages 337-355: "Special Message On Internal Improvements, December 15th, 1847. To the House of Representatives." Pages 347-8:

 

During the four succeeding years embraced by the administration of President Adams, the power not only to appropriate money, but to apply it, under the direction and authority of the General Government, as well to the construction of roads as to the improvement of harbors and rivers, was fully asserted and exercised.

 

Among other acts assuming the power, was one passed on the twentieth of May, 1826, entitled "An act for improving certain harbors and the navigation of certain rivers and creeks, and for authorizing surveys to be made of certain bays, sounds, and rivers therein mentioned." By that act large appropriations were made, which were to be "applied under the direction of the President of the United States" to numerous improvements in ten of the States. This act, passed thirty-seven years after the organization of the present Government, contained the first appropriation ever made for the improvement of a navigable river, unless it be small appropriations for examinations and surveys in 1820. During the residue of that Administration many other appropriations of a similar character were made, embracing roads, rivers, harbors, and canals, and objects claiming the aid of Congress multiplied without number.

 

[45] Book: Life of Abraham Lincoln, Presenting His Early History, Political Career, and Speeches in and out of Congress; Also, a General View of His Policy as President of the United States… Edited by Joseph H. Barrett. Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1865. Pages 90-100: [Speech delivered before the House of Representatives by Abe Lincoln on June 20, 1848.] Pages 92-93:

 

In the message, the President [Democrat James Polk] tells us that "during the four succeeding years, embraced by the administration of President Adams, the power not only to appropriate money, but to apply it, under the direction and authority of the General Government, as well to the construction of roads as to the improvement of harbors and rivers, was fully asserted and exercised." … As shown by authentic documents, the expenditures on improvements during 1825, 1826, 1827 and 1828, amounted to $81,879,627.01.

 

[46] Book: Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States. By William H. Seward. C. M. Saxton, Barker & Co., 1860. Page 142:

 

While a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Adams received a letter inquiring his views on the subject of internal improvement. The following is an extract from his reply :—

 

"On the 23rd of Feb., 1807, I offered, in the Senate of the United States, of which I was then a member, the first resolution, as I believe, that ever was presented to Congress, contemplating a general system of internal improvement. I thought that Congress possessed the power of appropriating money to such improvement, and of authorizing the works necessary for making it—subject always to the territorial rights of the several States in or through which the improvement is to be made, to be secured by the consent of their Legislatures, and to proprietary rights of individuals, to be purchased or indemnified. I still hold the same opinions; and, although highly respecting the purity of intention of those who object, on constitutional grounds, to the exercise of this power, it is with heartfelt satisfaction that I perceive those objections gradually yielding to the paramount influence of the general welfare. Already have appropriations of money to great objects of internal improvement been freely made; and I hope we shall both live to see the day, when the only question of our statesmen and patriots, concerning the authority of Congress to improve, by public works essentially beneficent, and beyond the means of less than national resources, the condition of our common country, will be how it ever could have been doubted."

 

[47] "U.S. Presidential Election Results." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9344757

 

[48] Constitution of the United States. Signed September 17, 1787. http://justfacts.com/constitution.asp

 

Article I, Section 8:

 

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

 

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

 

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes …

 

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

 

[49] Book: Life of James Knox Polk and a History of His Administration. By John S. Jenkins. Burnett & Bostwick, 1854. Pages 337-355: "Special Message On Internal Improvements, December 15th, 1847. To the House of Representatives." Page 354:

 

In the progress of the discussions upon this subject the power to regulate commerce seems now to be chiefly relied upon, especially in reference to the improvement of harbors and rivers. In relation to the regulation of commerce, the language of the grant in the constitution is, "Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes."

 

[50] Book: Life of James Knox Polk and a History of His Administration. By John S. Jenkins. Burnett & Bostwick, 1854. Pages 337-355: "Special Message On Internal Improvements, December 15th, 1847. To the House of Representatives." Page 351:

 

That "to regulate commerce" does not mean to make a road, or dig a canal, or clear out a river, or deepen a harbor, would seem to be obvious to the common understanding. To "regulate" admits or affirms the pre-existence of the thing to be regulated. In this case it presupposes the existence of commerce, and of course the means by which, and the channels through which, commerce is carried on. It confers no creative power; it only assumes control over that which may have been brought into existence through other agencies, such as State legislation, and the industry and enterprise of individuals. If the definition of the word "regulate" is to include the provision of means to carry on commerce, then have Congress not only power to deepen harbors, clear out rivers, dig canals, and make roads but also to build ships, railroad cars, and other vehicles, all of which are necessary to commerce. There is no middle ground. If the power to regulate can be legitimately construed into a power to create or facilitate, then not only the bays and harbors, but the roads and canals, and all the means of transporting merchandise among the several States, are put at the disposition of Congress. … If a more extended construction be adopted, it is impossible for the human mind to fix on a limit to the exercise of the power other than the will and discretion of Congress.

 

[51] "Democratic Party Platform of 1852." Democratic National Committee, June 1, 1852. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=29575

 

1. That the federal government is one of limited powers, derived solely from the constitution, and the grants of power made therein ought to be strictly construed by all the departments and agents of the government; and that it is inexpedient and dangerous to exercise doubtful constitutional powers.

 

2. That the constitution does not confer upon the general government the power to commence and carry on a general system of internal improvements.

 

[52] Book: Life of Abraham Lincoln, Presenting His Early History, Political Career, and Speeches in and out of Congress; Also, a General View of His Policy as President of the United States… Edited by Joseph H. Barrett. Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1865. Pages 90-100: [Speech delivered before the House of Representatives by Abe Lincoln on June 20, 1848.] Page 95:

 

Mr. Chairman, on the third position of the message (the Constitutional question) I have not much to say. Being the man I am, and speaking when I do, I feel that in any attempt at an original, Constitutional argument, I should not be, and ought not to be, listened to patiently. The ablest and the best of men have gone over the whole ground long ago. I shall attempt but little more than a brief notice of what some of them have said.

 

Pages 96-97:

 

This Constitutional question will probably never be better settled than it is, until it shall pass under judicial consideration; but I do think that no man who is clear on this question of expediency need feel his conscience much pricked upon this.

 

Page 98:

 

I have already said that no one who is satisfied of the expediency of making improvements need be much uneasy in his conscience about its constitutionality. I wish now to submit a few remarks on the general proposition of amending the Constitution. As a general rule, I think we would do much better to let it alone. No slight occasion should tempt us to touch it. Better not take the first step, which may lead to a habit of altering it. Better rather habituate ourselves to think of it as unalterable. It can scarcely be made better than it is. New provisions would introduce new difficulties, and thus create and increase appetite for further change. No, sir; let it stand as it is. New hands have never touched it. The men who made it have done their work, and have passed away. Who shall improve on what they did?

 

[53] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 383: "In the North, the growth of extremist antislavery sentiment resulted in the birth of the Republican Party…."

 

[54] Article: "Lincoln, Abraham." Contributor: Gabor S. Boritt (Ph.D., Professor of Civil War Studies, Gettysburg College). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition. "In 1856, Lincoln joined the antislavery Republican Party, then only two years old."

 

[55] Book: Abraham Lincoln: Sources and Style of Leadership. Edited by Frank J. Williams and others. Greenwood Press, 1994. Chapter 2: "Lincoln's View of the Founding Fathers." By Ronald D. Reitveld. Page 23:

 

Among the founding fathers, it now became apparent that Jefferson offered more support for Lincoln's various positions, and he began to quote the author of the Declaration of Independence, his platform, his confession of faith, more frequently. … A great fusion meeting at Jackson, Michigan, on 6 July [1854] adopted the name Republican in emulation of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party. This embryonic Republican Party looked to the principles of Jefferson for its ideals.

 

[56] Book: A Political Text-Book for 1860: Comprising a Brief View of Presidential Nominations and Elections… Compiled by Horace Greely & John F. Cleveland. The Tribune Association, 1860. Page 206:

 

Mr. Lincoln having been invited by the Republicans of Boston, to attend a Festival in honor of the anniversary of Jefferson's birthday, on the 13th of April, 1859, replied as follows [on April 6, 1859]:

 

GENTLEMEN: Your kind note, inviting me to attend a festival in Boston, on the 18th inst., in honor of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, was duly received. My engagements are such that I cannot attend. Bearing in mind that about seventy years ago two great political parties were first formed in this country; that Thomas Jefferson was the head of one of them and Boston the headquarters of the other, it is both curious and interesting that those supposed to descend politically from the party opposed to Jefferson, should now be celebrating his birthday in their own original seat of empire, while those claiming political descent from him have nearly ceased to breathe his name everywhere.

 

Remembering, too, that the Jefferson party was formed upon its supposed superior devotion to the personal rights of men, holding the rights of property to be secondary only, and greatly inferior; and then assuming that the so-called Democracy of to-day are the Jefferson, and their opponents the anti-Jefferson parties, it will be equally interesting to note how completely the two have changed ground as to the principle upon which they were originally supposed to be divided.

 

The Democracy of to-day hold the liberty of one man to be absolutely nothing, when in conflict with another man's right of property. Republicans, on the contrary, are both for the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.

 

I remember being once much amused at seeing two partially intoxicated men engaged in a fight with their great-coats on, which fight, after a long and rather harmless contest, ended in each having fought himself out of his own coat and into that of the other. If the two leading parties of this day are really identical with the two in the days of Jefferson and Adams, they have performed the same feat as the two drunken men.

 

But soberly, it is now no child's play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation.

 

One would state with great confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are true; but nevertheless, he would fail, with one who should deny the definitions and axioms. The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society. And yet they are denied and evaded, with no small show of success. One dashingly calls them "glittering generalities." Another bluntly styles them "self-evident lies." And others insidiously argue that they apply only to "superior races."

 

These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object and effect—the supplanting the principles of free government, and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting against the people. They are the vanguard, the sappers and miners, of returning despotism. We must repulse them, or they will subjugate us.

 

This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.

 

All honor to Jefferson—to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity, to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day and in all coming days it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling-block to the harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression.

 

Your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.

 

[57] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 383: "In the North, the growth of extremist antislavery sentiment resulted in the birth of the Republican Party… In their first national convention, held in Philadelphia in 1856…."

 

[58] Book: A Political Text-Book for 1860: Comprising a Brief View of Presidential Nominations and Elections… Compiled by Horace Greely & John F. Cleveland. The Tribune Association, 1860. Page 22:

 

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION—1856. This Convention met at Philadelphia on the 17th of June… The Convention adopted the following PLATFORM:

 

This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, to the policy of the present Administration, to the extension of Slavery into Free Territory; in favor of admitting Kansas as a Free State, of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson, and who purpose to unite in presenting candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President, do resolve as follows:

 

Resolved, That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution is essential to the preservation of our Republican Institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the Union of the States, shall be preserved.

 

Resolved, That with our republican fathers we hold it to be a self-evident truth, that all men are endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that the primary object and ulterior designs of our Federal Government were, to secure these rights to all persons within its exclusive jurisdiction; that, as our republican fathers, when they had abolished Slavery in all our national territory, ordained that no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, it becomes our duty to maintain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it for the purpose of establishing Slavery in any territory of the United States, by positive legislation, prohibiting its existence or extension therein. That we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, of any individual or association of individuals, to give legal existence to Slavery in any territory of the United States, while the present Constitution shall be maintained.

 

Resolved, That the Constitution confers upon Congress sovereign power over the territories of the United States for their government, and that in the exercise of this power it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism —Polygamy and Slavery.

 

Resolved, That while the Constitution of the United States was ordained and established by the people in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the blessings of liberty, and contains ample provisions for the protection of the life, liberty and property of every citizen, the dearest constitutional rights of the people of Kansas have been fraudulently and violently taken from them —their territory has been invaded by an armed force—spurious and pretended legislative, judicial and executive officers have been set over them, by whose usurped authority, sustained by the military power of the Government, tyrannical and unconstitutional laws have been enacted and enforced— the rights of the people to keep and bear arms have been infringed—test oaths of an extraordinary and entangling nature have been imposed, as a condition of exercising the right of suffrage and holding office—the right of an accused person to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury has been denied—the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures has been violated—they have been deprived of life, liberty and property without due process of law—that the freedom of speech and of the press has been abridged—the right to choose their representatives has been made of no effect—murders, robberies and arsons have been instigated and encouraged, and the offenders have been allowed to go unpunished—that all these things have been done with the knowledge, sanction and procurement of the present Administration, and that for this high crime against the Constitution, the Union and Humanity, we arraign the Administration, the President, his advisers, agents, supporters, apologists and accessories, either before or after the facts, before the country and before the world, and that it is our fixed purpose to bring the actual perpetrators of these atrocious outrages, and their accomplices, to a sure and condign punishment, hereafter.

 

Resolved, That Kansas should be immediately admitted as a State of the Union, with her present free Constitution, as at once the most effectual way of securing to her citizens the enjoyment of the rights and privileges to which they are entitled; and of ending the civil strife now raging in her territory.

 

Resolved, That a railroad to the Pacific Ocean, by the most central and practicable route, is imperatively demanded by the interests of the whole country, and that the Federal Government ought to render immediate and efficient aid in its construction; and, as an auxiliary thereto, the immediate construction of an emigrant route on the line of the railroad.

 

Resolved, That the highwayman's plea, that "might makes right," embodied in the Ostend Circular, was in every respect unworthy of American diplomacy, and would bring shame and dishonor upon any government or people that gave it their sanction.

 

Resolved, That appropriations by Congress for the improvement of rivers and harbors, of a national character, required for the accommodation and security of our existing commerce, are authorized by the Constitution, and justified by the obligation of government to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

 

[59] Book: The Writings and Speeches of Grover Cleveland. Edited by George F. Parker. Cassell Publishing, 1892. Pages 449-451:

 

February 16, 1887.

To THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES :

 

I return without my approval House bill number ten thousand two hundred and three, entitled "An Act to enable the Commissioner of Agriculture to make a special distribution of seeds in drought-stricken counties of Texas, and making an appropriation therefor."

 

It is represented that a long-continued and extensive drought has existed in certain portions of the State of Texas, resulting in a failure of crops and consequent distress and destitution.

 

Though there has been some difference in statements concerning the extent of the people's needs in the localities thus affected, there seems to be no doubt that there has existed a condition calling for relief; and I am willing to believe that, notwithstanding the aid already furnished, a donation of seed-grain to the farmers located in this region, to enable them to put in new crops, would serve to avert a continuance or return of an unfortunate blight.

 

And yet I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose.

 

I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that, though the people support the government, the government should not support the people.

 

The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthen the bonds of a common brotherhood.

 

It is within my personal knowledge that individual aid has, to some extent, already been extended to the sufferers mentioned in this bill. The failure of the proposed appropriation of ten thousand dollars additional, to meet their remaining wants, will not necessarily result in continued distress if the emergency is fully made known to the people of the country.

 

It is here suggested that the Commissioner of Agriculture is annually directed to expend a large sum of money for the purchase, propagation, and distribution of seeds and other things of this description, two-thirds of which are, upon the request of senators, representatives, and delegates in Congress, supplied to them for distribution among their constituents.

 

The appropriation of the current year for this purpose is one hundred thousand dollars, and it will probably be no less in the appropriation for the ensuing year. I understand that a large quantity of grain is furnished for such distribution, and it is supposed that this free apportionment among their neighbors is a privilege which may be waived by our senators and representatives.

 

If sufficient of them should request the Commissioner of Agriculture to send their shares of the grain thus allowed them, to the suffering farmers of Texas, they might be enabled to sow their crops; the constituents, for whom in theory this grain is intended, could well bear the temporary deprivation, and the donors would experience the satisfaction attending deeds of charity.

 

GROVER CLEVELAND.

 

[60] "Republican Party Platform of 1900." June 19th, 1900. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29630

 

Public movements looking to a permanent improvement of the roads and highways of the country meet with our cordial approval, and we recommend this subject to the earnest consideration of the people and of the Legislatures of the several states.

 

[61] "Democratic Party Platform of 1900." July 4th, 1900. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=29587

 

We hold that the Constitution follows the flag, and denounce the doctrine that an Executive or Congress deriving their existence and their powers from the Constitution can exercise lawful authority beyond it or in violation of it. …

 

We denounce the lavish appropriations of recent Republican Congresses, which have kept taxes high and which threaten the perpetuation of the oppressive war levies. We oppose the accumulation of a surplus to be squandered in such barefaced frauds upon the taxpayers as the shipping subsidy bill, which, under the false pretense of prospering American shipbuilding, would put unearned millions into the pockets of favorite contributors to the Republican campaign fund. We favor the reduction and speedy repeal of the war taxes, and a return to the time-honored Democratic policy of strict economy in governmental expenditures.

 

[62] Article: "Roosevelt, Franklin Delano." Contributor: James T. Patterson (Ph.D., Professor of History, Brown University). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

[63] Article: "Great Depression." Kris James Mitchener (Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

In the United States, the decline in industrial production began in the second half of 1929. The economic downturn worsened in October 1929, when values of stocks dropped dramatically.

 

[64] Nomination Address of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the Democratic National Convention, July 2, 1932.

http://newdeal.feri.org/speeches/1932b.htm

 

I know something of taxes. For three long years I have been going up and down this country preaching that Government—Federal and State and local—costs too much. I shall not stop that preaching. As an immediate program of action we must abolish useless offices. We must eliminate unnecessary functions of Government--functions, in fact, that are not definitely essential to the continuance of Government. We must merge, we must consolidate subdivisions of Government, and, like the private citizen, give up luxuries which we can no longer afford.…

 

And now one word about unemployment, and incidentally about agriculture. I have favored the use of certain types of public works as a further emergency means of stimulating employment and the issuance of bonds to pay for such public works, but I have pointed out that no economic end is served if we merely build without building for a necessary purpose. Such works, of course, should insofar as possible be self-sustaining if they are to be financed by the issuing of bonds. So as to spread the points of all kinds as widely as possible, we must take definite steps to shorten the working day and the working week.…

 

The practical way to help the farmer is by an arrangement that will, in addition to lightening some of the impoverishing burdens from his back, do something toward the reduction of the surpluses of staple commodities that hang on the market. It should be our aim to add to the world prices of staple products the amount of a reasonable tariff protection, to give agriculture the same protection that industry has today. …

 

One more word about the farmer, and I know that every delegate in this hall who lives in the city knows why I lay emphasis on the farmer. It is because one-half of our population, over 50,000,000 people, are dependent on agriculture; and, my friends, if those 50,000,000 people have no money, no cash, to buy what is produced in the city, the city suffers to an equal or greater extent. {See the next footnote for another estimate of the percentage of the population involved in agriculture at the time.} …

 

I say that while primary responsibility for relief rests with localities now, as ever, yet the Federal Government has always had and still has a continuing responsibility for the broader public welfare. It will soon fulfill that responsibility. …

 

I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.

 

[65] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 200: "Farmers were, after all, still some 30 percent of the work force."

 

[66] Article: "Roosevelt, Franklin Delano." Contributor: James T. Patterson (Ph.D., Professor of History, Brown University). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

On March 9, 1933, Congress began a special session called by Roosevelt. The president at once began to submit recovery and reform laws for congressional approval. Congress passed nearly all the important bills that he requested, most of them by large majorities.

 

[67] Web Page: "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives." Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives. Accessed November 17, 2007 at http://clerk.house.gov/art_history/house_history/partyDiv.html

 

Web Page: "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present." Historical Office, United States Senate. Accessed November 17, 2007 at

http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/one_item_and_teasers/partydiv.htm

 

 

House of Representatives

Senate

Election year

Democrats

Republicans

Democrats

Republicans

1930

216

218

47

48

1932

313

117

59

36

1934

322

103

69

25

1936

334

88

76

16

1938

262

169

69

23

1940

267

162

66

28

 

[68] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 792:

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration was the first one to assume that it was the federal government's duty to assume responsibility for virtually all the important phases of the entire national economy—production, labor, unemployment, social security, money and banking, housing, public works, flood control, and the conservation of natural resources.

 

[69] Article: "New Deal." Contributor: David A. Shannon (Ph.D., Former Professor of History, University of Virginia). Graphic: "Leading New Deal Agencies." This included the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Commodity Credit Corporation, Farm Credit Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Emergency Relief Administration, Federal Housing Administration, Farm Security Administration, Home Owners Loan Corporation, National Labor Relations Board, National Recovery Administration, National Youth Administration, Public Works Administration, Rural Electrification Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission, Social Security Board, Tennessee Valley Authority, United States Housing Authority, Works Progress Administration.

 

[70] Article: "New Deal." Contributor: David A. Shannon (Ph.D., Former Professor of History, University of Virginia). "The Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided the states with money for the needy."

 

[71] Article: "New Deal." Contributor: David A. Shannon (Ph.D., Former Professor of History, University of Virginia). The United States Housing Act of 1937 "provided money for more federal public housing projects."

 

[72] "The Social Security Act of 1935." United States Congress, August 14, 1935. http://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html

 

An act to provide for the general welfare by establishing a system of Federal old-age benefits, and by enabling the several States to make more adequate provision for aged persons, blind persons, dependent and crippled children, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of their unemployment compensation laws; to establish a Social Security Board; to raise revenue; and for other purposes.

 

[73] Article: "Roosevelt, Franklin Delano." Contributor: James T. Patterson (Ph.D., Professor of History, Brown University). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was established in 1935 to provide work for people without jobs. In 1939, it was renamed the Work Projects Administration. It employed an average of 2 million workers annually between 1935 and 1943.

 

[74] Article: "New Deal." Contributor: David A. Shannon, Ph.D. (Former Professor of History, University of Virginia). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition.

 

The Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), created in May 1933, tried to raise farm prices by limiting production. The AAA used funds raised through a tax on processors of farm products to pay farmers not to produce as much as they had before.

 

[75] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Pages 204-5:

 

By an ironic and short-lived mercy, drought spared Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace from resorting to drastic measures to curtail the wheat crop. But to prevent cotton and hogs from glutting their respective markets, Wallace found himself in 1933 charged with the distasteful task of persuading farmers to plow up some ten million acres of sprouting cotton and to slaughter some six million squealing piglets.

 

[76] Article: "Roosevelt, Franklin D." Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2004. "The Home Owners' Refinancing Act provided mortgage relief for millions of unemployed Americans in danger of losing their homes."

 

[77] Article: "New Deal." Contributor: David A. Shannon (Ph.D., Former Professor of History, University of Virginia). "The Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) provided money at low interest for persons struggling to pay mortgages."

 

[78] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Pages 734-750: [Stricken down were Section 9 (c) of the National Industrial Recovery Act, the National Recovery Act in its entirety, the Railroad Pension Act, the Farm Mortgage law, the Agricultural Adjustment Act and subsequent amendments to it, the Bituminous Coal Act, and the Municipal Bankruptcy Act. Upheld were the Tennessee Valley Authority Act and emergency monetary enactments of 1933.]

 

[79] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Pages 732-3: [Sutherland, Van Devanter, Butler and McReynolds generally ruled against the constitutionality of the New Deal programs. Brandeis, Stone and Cardozo generally ruled in favor of them. The two swing votes were Chief Justice Charles Evan Hughes and Owen J. Roberts.]

 

[80] Ruling: Carter v. Carter Coal Company. U.S. Supreme Court, May 18, 1936. Case 298 U.S. 238. Decided 6-3. Majority: Sutherland, Butler, McReynolds, Roberts, Van Devanter. Concurring: Hughes. Dissenting: Cardozo, Brandeis, Stone. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/298/238.html

 

Section 3 (15 U.S.C.A. 804) provides: "There is hereby imposed upon the sale or other disposal of all bituminous coal produced within the United States an excise tax of 15 per centum on the sale price.... [T]he Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall fix a price therefor at the current market price for the comparable kind, quality, and size of coals in the locality where the same is produced: Provided further, That any such coal producer who has filed with the National Bituminous Coal Commission his acceptance of the code provided for in section 4 of this Act (sections 805, 806, 807 and 808 of this chapter), and who acts in compliance with the provisions of such code, shall be entitled to a drawback in the form of a credit upon the amount of such tax payable hereunder, equivalent to 90 per centum of the amount of such tax….

 

The labor provisions of the code, found in part 3 of the same section (15 U.S.C.A. 808), require that in order to effectuate the purposes of the act the district boards and code members shall accept specified conditions contained in the code, among which are the following:

 

Employees to be given the right to organize and bargain collectively, through representatives of their own choosing, free from interference, restraint, or coercion of employers or their agents in respect of their concerted activities.

 

Such employees to have the right of peaceable assemblage for the discussion of the principles of collective bargaining and to select their own check-weighman to inspect the weighing or measuring of coal.

 

A labor board is created, consisting of three members, to be appointed by the President and assigned to the Department of Labor. Upon this board is conferred authority to adjudicate disputes arising under the provisions just stated, and to determine whether or not an organization of employees had been promoted, or is controlled or dominated by an employer in its organization, management, policy, or election of representatives. The board 'may order a code member to meet the representatives of its employees for the purpose of collective bargaining.'

 

Subdivision (g) of part 3 (15 U.S.C.A. 808(g) provides:

 

'Whenever the maximum daily and weekly hours of labor are agreed upon in any contract or contracts negotiated between the producers of more than two-thirds the annual national tonnage production for the preceding calendar year and the representatives of more than one-half the mine workers employed, such maximum hours of labor shall be accepted by all the code members. The wage agreement or agreements negotiated by collective bargaining in any district or group of two or more districts, between representatives of producers of more than two-thirds of the annual tonnage production of such district or each of such districts in a contracting group during the preceding calendar year, and representatives of the majority of the mine workers therein, shall be filed with the Labor Board and shall be accepted as the minimum wages for the various classifications of labor by the code members operating in such district or group of districts.'

 

[81] Ruling: Carter v. Carter Coal Company. U.S. Supreme Court, May 18, 1936. Case 298 U.S. 238. Decided 6-3. Majority: Sutherland, Butler, McReynolds, Roberts, Van Devanter. Concurring: Hughes. Dissenting: Cardozo, Brandeis, Stone. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/298/238.html

 

The convention, however, declined to confer upon Congress power in such general terms; instead of which it carefully limited the powers which it thought wise to intrust to Congress by specifying them, thereby denying all others not granted expressly or by necessary implication. It made no grant of authority to Congress to legislate substantively for the general welfare, United States v. Butler, supra, 297 U.S. 1 , at page 64, 56 S.Ct. 312, 102 A.L.R. 914; and no such authority exists, save as the general welfare may be promoted by the exercise of the powers which are granted. Compare Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 22 , 25 S.Ct. 358, 3 Ann.Cas. 765. …

 

Replying directly to the suggestion advanced by counsel in Kansas v. Colorado {1907}, 206 U.S. 46, 89 , 90 S., 27 S.Ct. 655, 664, to the effect that necessary powers national in their scope must be found vested in Congress, though not expressly granted or essentially implied, this court said:

 

'But the proposition that there are legislative powers affecting the nation as a whole which belong to, although not expressed in the grant of powers, is in direct conflict with the doctrine that this is a government of enumerated powers. That this is such a government clearly appears from the Constitution, independently of the Amendments, for otherwise there would be an instrument granting certain specified things made operative to grant other and distinct things. This natural construction of the original body of the Constitution is made absolutely certain by the 10th Amendment. This Amendment, which was seemingly adopted with prescience of just such contention as the present, disclosed the widespread fear that the national government might, under the pressure of a supposed general welfare, attempt to exercise powers which had not been granted. With equal determination the framers intended that no such assumption should ever find justification in the organic act, and that if, in the future, further powers seemed necessary, they should [298 U.S. 238, 294]   be granted by the people in the manner they had provided for amending that act.'

 

The determination of the Framers Convention and the ratifying conventions to preserve complete and unimpaired state self-government in all matters not committed to the general government is one of the plainest facts which emerges from the history of their deliberations. And adherence to that determination is incumbent equally upon the federal government and the states. It is safe to say that if, when the Constitution was under consideration, it had been thought that any such danger lurked behind its plain words, it would never have been ratified.

 

[82] "The National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933." United States Congress, June 16, 1933. http://www.historicaldocuments.com/NationalIndustrialRecoveryAct.htm

 

Section 3 (a):

 

Upon the application to the President by one or more trade or industrial associations or groups the President may approve a code or codes of fair competition for the trade or industry or sub-division thereof….

 

Section 3 (d):

 

Upon his own motion, or if complaint is made to the President that abuses inimical to the public interest and contrary to the policy herein declared are prevalent in any trade or industry or subdivision thereof, and if no code of fair competition therefor has theretofore been approved by the President, the President, after such public notice and hearing as he shall specify, may prescribe and approve a code of fair competition for such trade or industry or subdivision thereof, which shall have the same effect as a code of fair competition approved by the President under subsection (a) of this section.

 

Section 4 (b):

 

Whenever the President shall find that destructive wage or price cutting or other activities contrary to the policy of this title are being practiced in any trade or industry or any subdivision thereof, and, after such public notice and hearing as he shall specify, shall find it essential to license business enterprises in order to make effective a code of fair competition or an agreement under this title or otherwise to effectuate the policy of this title, and shall publicly so announce, no person shall, after a date fixed in such announcement, engage in or carryon any business, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, specified in such announcement, unless he shall have first obtained a license issued pursuant to such relations as the President shall prescribe. The President may suspend or revoke any such license, after due notice and opportunity for hearing, for violations of the terms or conditions thereof. Any order of the President suspending or revoking any such license shall be final if in accordance with law.

 

Section 6 (a):

 

The President shall, so far as practicable, afford every opportunity to employers and employees in any trade or industry or subdivision thereof with respect to which the conditions referred to in clauses (1) and (2) of subsection (a) prevail, to establish by mutual agreement, the standards as to the maximum hours of labor, minimum rates of pay, and such other conditions of employment as may be necessary in such trade or industry or subdivision thereof to effectuate the policy of this title; and the standards established in such agreements, when approved by the President, shall have the same effect as a code of fair competition, approved by the President under subsection (a) of section 3.

 

Section 6 (c):

 

Where no such mutual agreement has been approved by the President he may investigate the labor practices, policies, wages, hours of labor, and conditions of employment in such trade or industry or subdivision thereof; and upon the basis of such investigations, and after such hearings as the President finds advisable, he is authorized to prescribe a limited code of fair competition fixing such maximum hours of labor, minimum rates of pay, and other conditions of employment in the trade or industry or subdivision thereof investigated as he finds to be necessary to effectuate the policy of this title, which shall have the same effect as a code of fair competition approved by the President under subsection (a) of section 3.

 

Section 8 (a):

 

This title shall not be construed to repeal or modify any of the provisions of title I of … the Agricultural Adjustment Act.

 

[83] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 185:

 

Almost overnight, NRA mushroomed into a bureaucratic colossus. Its staff of some forty-five hundred oversaw more than seven hundred codes, many of which overlapped, sometimes inconsistently. Corkmakers, for example, faced an array of new fewer than thirty-four codes. Hardware stores operated under nineteen different codes, each with its own elaborate catalogue of regulations. In just two years NRA regulators drafted some thirteen thousand pages of code and issued eleven thousand interpretive rulings.

 

[84] Book: The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Volume 4. Random House, 1938. Pages 226-233: 210th Press Conference, June 4, 1935. Page 228:

 

Now, the extension of the N.R.A means that there are 5400 people in its employ of whom, as I remember it, 4,200 are in Washington and 1,200 in other parts of the country.

 

[85] Ruling: A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States. U.S. Supreme Court, May 27, 1935. Case 295 U.S. 495. Decided 9-0. Majority: Hughes, Brandeis, Roberts, Sutherland, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Butler. Concurring: Cardozo, Stone. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/295/495.html

 

Extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary remedies. But the argument necessarily stops short of an attempt to justify action which lies outside the sphere of constitutional authority. Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power. The Constitution established a national government with powers deemed to be adequate, as they have proved to be both in war and peace, but these powers of the national government are limited by the constitutional grants. … Such assertions of extraconstitutional authority were anticipated and precluded by the explicit terms of the Tenth Amendment- 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.' …

 

Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President to exercise an unfettered discretion to make whatever laws he thinks may be needed or advisable for the rehabilitation and expansion of trade or industry. In view of the scope of that broad declaration and of the nature of the few restrictions that are imposed, the discretion of the President in approving or prescribing codes, and thus enacting laws for the government of trade and industry throughout the country, is virtually unfettered. We think that the code-making authority thus conferred is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power. …

 

It is not the province of the Court to consider the economic advantages or disadvantages of such a centralized system. It is sufficient to say that the Federal Constitution does not provide for it….

 

Without in any way disparaging this motive, it is enough to say that the recuperative efforts of the federal government must be made in a manner consistent with the authority granted by the Constitution.

 

[86] Book: The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Volume 4. Random House, 1938. Pages 200-222: 209th Press Conference, May 31, 1935.

 

Page 205: "[T]he implications of this decision are much more important than certainly any decision of my lifetime or yours, more important than any decision probably since the Dred Scott case, because they bring the country as a whole up against a very practical question." Page 209: "The whole tendency over these years has been to view the interstate commerce clause in the light of present-day civilization. The country was in the horse-and-buggy-age when that clause was written...."

 

Page 221: "We have been relegated to the horse-and-buggy definition of interstate commerce." Page 222: [Question from a reporter:] "Any suggestion as to how it [a decision on this matter] might be made, except by a Constitutional Amendment? THE PRESIDENT: No; we haven't gotten to that yet."

 

[87] Book: The Supreme Court Reborn: The Constitutional Revolution in the Age of Roosevelt. By William E. Leuchtenberg. Oxford University Press, 1995. Page 86:

 

"At a Cabinet meeting on July 11, 1935… Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes noted in his diary:

 

The Attorney General went so far as to say that if the Court went against the Government, the number of justices should be increased at once so as to give a favorable majority. As a matter of fact, the President suggested this possibility to me during our interview on Thursday, and I told him that is precisely what ought to be done.

 

[88] Web Page: "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives." Office of the Clerk, United States House of Representatives. Accessed November 17, 2007 at http://clerk.house.gov/art_history/house_history/partyDiv.html

 

Web Page: "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present." Historical Office, United States Senate. Accessed November 17, 2007 at

http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/one_item_and_teasers/partydiv.htm

 

 

House of Representatives

Senate

Election year

Democrats

Republicans

Democrats

Republicans

1930

216

218

47

48

1932

313

117

59

36

1934

322

103

69

25

1936

334

88

76

16

1938

262

169

69

23

1940

267

162

66

28

 

[89] "U.S. Presidential Election Results." Encyclopædia Britannica, 2007. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9344757

 

 

Electoral Vote

Popular Vote

% of Popular Vote

Franklin D. Roosevelt

523

27,476,673

60

Alfred M. Landon

8

16,679,583

36

 

[90] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Pages 757-8: [On February 5, 1937, Roosevelt presented a bill to] "reorganize the federal judiciary. … [The plan was] "clearly constitutional, since Congress specifically had power to fix the size of all federal courts."

 

[91] Book: Documents of American History. Volume 2 (since 1898). Edited by Henry Steele Commager. Prentice-Hall, 1973. Page 382:

 

PROPOSED BILL.

Be it enacted, That—

(a) When any judge of a court of the United States, appointed to hold his office during good behavior, has heretofore or hereafter attained the age of seventy years and has held a commission or commissions as judge of any such court or courts at least ten years, continuously or otherwise, and within six months thereafter has neither resigned nor retired, the President, for each so judge who has not so resigned or retired, shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint one additional judge to the court to which the former is commissioned…

(b) … No more than fifty judges shall be appointed [under subsection (a)], nor shall any judge be so appointed if such appointed would result in (1) more than fifteen members of the Supreme Court of the United States…

 

[92] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 327: [Age of the four judges who generally found Roosevelt's bills to be unconstitutional: McReynolds 75, Sutherland 74, Van Devanter 77, and Butler 70.]

 

[93] Book: Documents of American History. Volume 2 (since 1898). Edited by Henry Steele Commager. Prentice-Hall, 1973. Pages 383-7:

 

ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, MARCH 9, 1937

But the framers went further. Having in mind that in succeeding generations other problems then undreamed of would become national problems, they gave the Congress the ample broad powers to "levy taxes and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."

The Court… has improperly set itself up as a third House of Congress—a superlegislature, as one of the Justices has called it—reading into the Constitution words and implications which are not there, and which were never intended to be there. We have, therefore, reached the point as a Nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself.

Our difficulty with the Court today rises not from the Court as an institution but from the humans beings within it.

 

[94] Address of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as Governor of New York, March 2, 1930. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/writings/fdr_address.htm

 

On such a small foundation have we erected the whole enormous fabric of Federal Government which costs us now $3,500,000,000 every year, and if we do not halt this steady process of building commissions and regulatory bodies and special legislation like huge inverted pyramids over every one of the simple Constitutional provisions, we shall soon be spending many billions of dollars more.

It must be obvious that almost every new or old problem of government must be solved, if it is to be solved to the satisfaction of the people of the whole country, by each State in its own way. There are many glaring examples where exclusive Federal control is manifestly against the scheme and intent of our Constitution.

 

[95] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Pages 757-8: [On February 5, 1937, Roosevelt presented a bill to] "reorganize the federal judiciary."

 

[96] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 755: "In a remarkable series of opinions beginning in 1937, [the Supreme Court] accepted all of the outstanding New Deal reform measures, including much legislation passed to replace that which the Court had invalidated before 1937."

 

[97] Ruling: West Coast Hotel v. Parrish. U.S. Supreme Court, March 29, 1937. Case 300 U.S. 379. Decided 5-4. Majority: Hughes, Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Roberts, Stone. Dissenting: Sutherland, Butler, McReynolds, Van Devanter.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=300&page=379

 

[98] Ruling: National Labor Relations Board v. Jones and Laughlin Steel. U.S. Supreme Court, April 12, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 1. Decided 5-4. Majority: Hughes, Brandeis, Cardozo, Roberts, Stone. Dissenting: McReynolds, Butler, Sutherland, Van Devanter.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/1.html

 

[99] Ruling: National Labor Relations Board v. Friedman-Harry Marks Clothing Company. U.S. Supreme Court, April 12, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 58. Decided 5-4. Majority: Hughes, Cardozo, Roberts, Stone, Brandeis. Dissenting: McReynolds, Van Devanter, Sutherland, Butler.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/58.html

 

[100] Ruling: Associated Press v. National Labor Relations Board. U.S. Supreme Court, April 12, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 103. Decided 5-4. Majority: Roberts, Hughes, Brandeis, Stone, Cardozo. Dissenting: Sutherland, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Butler. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=301&page=103

 

[101] Ruling: Steward Machine Company v. Davis. U.S. Supreme Court, May 24, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 548. Decided 5-4. Majority: Cardozo, Brandeis, Hughes, Roberts, Stone. Dissenting: McReynolds. Separate dissent: Sutherland, Van Devanter. Separate dissent: Butler. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/548.html

 

[102] Ruling: Helvering v. Davis. U.S. Supreme Court, May 24, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 619. Decided 7-2. Majority: Cardozo, Hughes, Brandeis, Roberts, Stone, Sutherland, Van Devanter. Dissenting: McReynolds, Butler. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/619.html

 

[103] Ruling: Steward Machine Company v. Davis. U.S. Supreme Court, May 24, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 548. Decided 5-4. Majority: Cardozo, Brandeis, Hughes, Roberts, Stone. Dissenting: McReynolds. Separate dissent: Sutherland, Van Devanter. Separate dissent: Butler.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/548.html

 

The Social Security Act… is divided into eleven separate titles, of which only titles IX and III are so related to this case as to stand in need of summary.

 

[104] "The Social Security Act of 1935." United States Congress, August 14, 1935. http://www.ssa.gov/history/35act.html

 

TITLE III-GRANTS TO STATES FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATION

SECTION 301. For the purpose of assisting the States in the administration of their unemployment compensation laws, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1936, the sum of $4,000,000, and for each fiscal year thereafter the sum of $49,000,000, to be used as hereinafter provided.

PAYMENTS TO STATES

SEC. 302. (a) The Board shall from time to time certify to the Secretary of the Treasury for payment to each State which has an unemployment compensation law approved by the Board under Title IX, such amounts as the Board determines to be necessary for the proper administration of such law during the fiscal year in which such payment is to be made.

 

TITLE IX- TAX ON EMPLOYERS OF EIGHT OR MORE

SECTION 901. On and after January 1, 1936, every employer (as defined in section 907) shall pay for each calendar year an excise tax, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to the following percentages of the total wages (as defined in section 907) payable by him (regardless of the time of payment) with respect to employment (as defined in section 907) during such calendar year:
(1) With respect to employment during the calendar year 1936 the rate shall be 1 per centum;
(2) With respect to employment during the calendar year 1937 the rate shall be 2 per centum;
(3) With respect to employment after December 31, 1937, the rate shall be 3 per centum.

CREDIT AGAINST TAX

Section 902. The taxpayer may credit against the tax imposed by section 901 the amount of contributions, with respect to employment during the taxable year, paid by him (before the date of filing of his return for the taxable year) into an unemployment fund under a State law. The total credit allowed to a taxpayer under this section for all contributions paid into unemployment funds with respect to employment during such taxable year shall not exceed 90 per centum of the tax against which it is credited, and credit shall be allowed only for contributions made under the laws of States certified for the taxable year as provided in section 903.

….

Section 905. (a) The tax imposed by this title shall be collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue under the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury and shall be paid into the Treasury of the United States as internal- revenue collections.

 

[105] Ruling: Steward Machine Company v. Davis. U.S. Supreme Court, May 24, 1937. Case 301 U.S. 548. Decided 5-4. Majority: Cardozo, Brandeis, Hughes, Roberts, Stone. Dissenting: McReynolds. Separate dissent: Sutherland, Van Devanter. Separate dissent: Butler.

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/301/548.html

 

To draw the line intelligently between duress and inducement, there is need to remind ourselves of facts as to the problem of unemployment that are now matters of common knowledge. West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish ( March 29, 1937) 300 U.S. 379 , 57 S.Ct. 578. The relevant statistics are gathered in the brief of counsel for the government. Of the many available figures a few only will be mentioned. During the years 1929 to 1936, when the country was passing through a cyclical depression, the number of the unemployed mounted to unprecedented heights. Often the average was more than 10 million; at times a peak was attained of 16 million or more. Disaster to the breadwinner meant disaster to dependents. Accordingly the roll of the unemployed, itself formidable enough, was only a partial roll of the destitute or needy. The fact developed quickly that the states were unable to give the requisite relief. The problem had become national in area and dimensions. There was need of help from the nation if the people were not to starve. It is too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of the moneys of the nation to relieve the unemployed [301 U.S. 548, 587]   and their dependents is a use for any purpose narrower than the promotion of the general welfare. Cf. United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1, 65 , 66 S., 56 S.Ct. 312, 319, 102 A.L.R. 914; Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619, 672 , 57 S.Ct. 904, 81 L.Ed. --, decided herewith. The nation responded to the call of the distressed. Between January 1, 1933, and July 1, 1936, the states (according to statistics submitted by the government) incurred obligations of $689,291,802 for emergency relief; local subdivisions an additional $775,675,366. In the same period the obligations for emergency relief incurred by the national government were $ 2,929,307,125, or twice the obligations of states and local agencies combined. According to the President's budget message for the fiscal year 1938, the national government expended for public works and unemployment relief for the three fiscal years 1934, 1935, and 1936, the stupendous total of $8,681,000,000. The parens patriae has many reasons-fiscal and economic as well as social and moral-for planning to mitigate disasters that bring these burdens in their train.

 

[106] Book: Crime and the Justice System in America: An Encyclopedia. Edited by Frank Schmalleger with Gordon M. Armstrong. Greenwood Publishing, 1997. Page 179:

 

"PARENS PATRIAE. Literally, "parent of the country." This legal concept serves as the basis for state intervention when the state removes a delinquent from the hone of his or her parents. Effectible, parens patriae is an assumption of responsibility by the state for the welfare of the delinquent child."

 

[107] Ruling: Carter v. Carter Coal Company. U.S. Supreme Court, May 18, 1936. Case 298 U.S. 238. Decided 6-3. Majority: Sutherland, Butler, McReynolds, Roberts, Van Devanter. Concurring: Hughes. Dissenting: Cardozo, Brandeis, Stone. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/298/238.html

 

The convention, however, declined to confer upon Congress power in such general terms; instead of which it carefully limited the powers which it thought wise to intrust to Congress by specifying them, thereby denying all others not granted expressly or by necessary implication. It made no grant of authority to Congress to legislate substantively for the general welfare, United States v. Butler, supra, 297 U.S. 1 , at page 64, 56 S.Ct. 312, 102 A.L.R. 914; and no such authority exists, save as the general welfare may be promoted by the exercise of the powers which are granted. Compare Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 22 , 25 S.Ct. 358, 3 Ann.Cas. 765.

Replying directly to the suggestion advanced by counsel in Kansas v. Colorado {1907}, 206 U.S. 46, 89 , 90 S., 27 S.Ct. 655, 664, to the effect that necessary powers national in their scope must be found vested in Congress, though not expressly granted or essentially implied, this court said:

 

'But the proposition that there are legislative powers affecting the nation as a whole which belong to, although not expressed in the grant of powers, is in direct conflict with the doctrine that this is a government of enumerated powers. That this is such a government clearly appears from the Constitution, independently of the Amendments, for otherwise there would be an instrument granting certain specified things made operative to grant other and distinct things. This natural construction of the original body of the Constitution is made absolutely certain by the 10th Amendment. This Amendment, which was seemingly adopted with prescience of just such contention as the present, disclosed the widespread fear that the national government might, under the pressure of a supposed general welfare, attempt to exercise powers which had not been granted. With equal determination the framers intended that no such assumption should ever find justification in the organic act, and that if, in the future, further powers seemed necessary, they should [298 U.S. 238, 294]   be granted by the people in the manner they had provided for amending that act.'

 

The determination of the Framers Convention and the ratifying conventions to preserve complete and unimpaired state self-government in all matters not committed to the general government is one of the plainest facts which emerges from the history of their deliberations. And adherence to that determination is incumbent equally upon the federal government and the states. It is safe to say that if, when the Constitution was under consideration, it had been thought that any such danger lurked behind its plain words, it would never have been ratified."

 

[108] Ruling: A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corporation v. United States. U.S. Supreme Court, May 27, 1935. Case 295 U.S. 495. Decided 9-0. Majority: Hughes, Brandeis, Roberts, Sutherland, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Butler. Concurring: Cardozo, Stone. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=us/295/495.html

 

Extraordinary conditions may call for extraordinary remedies. But the argument necessarily stops short of an attempt to justify action which lies outside the sphere of constitutional authority. Extraordinary conditions do not create or enlarge constitutional power. The Constitution established a national government with powers deemed to be adequate, as they have proved to be both in war and peace, but these powers of the national government are limited by the constitutional grants. … Such assertions of extraconstitutional authority were anticipated and precluded by the explicit terms of the Tenth Amendment- 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'

Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the President to exercise an unfettered discretion to make whatever laws he thinks may be needed or advisable for the rehabilitation and expansion of trade or industry. In view of the scope of that broad declaration and of the nature of the few restrictions that are imposed, the discretion of the President in approving or prescribing codes, and thus enacting laws for the government of trade and industry throughout the country, is virtually unfettered. We think that the code-making authority thus conferred is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative power.

It is not the province of the Court to consider the economic advantages or disadvantages of such a centralized system. It is sufficient to say that the Federal Constitution does not provide for it

Without in any way disparaging this motive, it is enough to say that the recuperative efforts of the federal government must be made in a manner consistent with the authority granted by the Constitution.

 

[109] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 760: [Justice Van Devanter retired in May 1937. On June 14th, the court packing bill was defeated (10-8) in the Senate Judiciary Committee.]

 

[110] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 332: "Ominously, a Gallup poll in the weeks just after the bombshell court message… showed a solid majority (53 percent) opposed to the president's Court proposal." Page 333: "New York Democratic governor Herbert Lehman, whom Roosevelt had once described as "my strong right arm," was among" those who "denounced the Roosevelt plan." [Democratic senator Burton Wheeler from Montana] "emerged as the Court plan's chief opponent in the Senate."

 

[111] Book: Documents of American History. Volume 2 (since 1898). Edited by Henry Steele Commager. Prentice-Hall, 1973. Pages 387-391:

 

ADVERSE REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY

[I]t undermines the protection our constitutional system gives to minorities and is subversive of the rights of individuals. 

 

[Signed by the following Senators on the Judiciary Committee.]

 

William H. King (D)

Frederick Van Nuys (D)

Patrick McCarran (D)

Carl A. Hatch (D)

Edward R. Burke (D)

Tom Connally (D)

Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D)

William E. Borah (R)

Warren R. Austin (R)

Frederick Steiwer (R)

 

{Party affiliations found via online sources.}

 

[112] Book: The American Constitution: Its Origins and Development. By Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison. Third edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 1963. Page 763: [Justice Sutherland resigned in January 1938.] Page 764: [Justice Butler passed on in November 1939. Justice McReynolds resigned in February 1941.]

 

[113] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 337:

 

"[Roosevelt] lost the battle to expand the Court but won the war for a shift in constitutional doctrine. "We obtained 98 percent of all the objectives intended by the Court plan," Roosevelt observed in late 1938. The "nine old men" – or at least the youngest of them, Owen Roberts, in company with Hughes – had proved nimble enough to shift their ideological ground. In the course of countering Roosevelt's Court-packing plan, they gave birth to what has been rightly called "the Constitutional Revolution of 1937."

 

[114] Article: "Roosevelt, Franklin Delano." Contributor: James T. Patterson (Ph.D., Professor of History, Brown University). World Book Encyclopedia, 2007 Deluxe Edition. "By 1944, so many justices had retired or died that all but two Court members were Roosevelt appointees."

 

[115] Book: Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. By David M. Kennedy. Oxford University Press, 1999. Page 337:

 

"The New Deal, especially its core program enacted in 1935, was now constitutionally safe. And for a least a half a century thereafter the Court did not overturn single piece of significant state or socioeconomic legislation. In the economic realm, at least, substantive due process was dead."

 

[116] Calculated with data from:

 

a) Table 3.16: "Government Current Expenditures by Function." U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Last revised September 17, 2014. http://www.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm...

 

b) Report: "Fiscal Year 2015 Historical Tables: Budget Of The U.S. Government." White House Office of Management and Budget, February 26, 2014. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/...

"Table 3.1—Outlays by Superfunction and Function: 1940–2018."
Accessed October 24, 2014 at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

c) Dataset: "Average Number of People per Household, by Race and Hispanic Origin, Marital Status, Age, and Education of Householder: 2013." U.S. Census Bureau, November 2013. http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013.html
Total households = 122,459,000

 

NOTES:

- Per correspondence from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to Just Facts (March 8, 2011), spending for veterans' benefits is "included within those functions that best reflect the nature of the specific benefits programs managed by the agency." Per the White House Office of Management and Budget (Table 3.2: "Outlays by Function and Subfunction, 1962–2016." Accessed March 8, 2011 at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals), "Veterans benefits and services" consist of "Income security for veterans," "Veterans education, training, and rehabilitation," "Hospital and medical care for veterans," "Veterans housing," and "Other veterans benefits and services." These all fall into categories that Just Facts categorizes as "Social spending." Thus, Just Facts subtracted the total "Veterans benefits and services" from the "Social spending" category and added this to the "National defense" category. Per the same correspondence from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, "The administrative expenses of the [Veterans' Affairs] agency … might be included within the General Public Service function." Because of the uncertainty implicit in this statement and the lack of such data from all sources known to Just Facts, we are unable to segregate this spending.

- Given the recent steep rise in the national debt, Just Facts has been asked why the portion of federal spending dedicated to "General government and debt service" has generally fallen since the mid-1990s. Major causes for this include (1) the recent steep rise in overall government spending (2) the recent low interest rates (3) the interest payments shown here do not include the interest due on government-held (a.k.a., "nonmarketable") debt, which as of February 28, 2011, has a 75% higher interest rate than publicly held debt ["Average Interest Rates on U.S. Treasury Securities." February 2011, U.S. Department of the Treasury. http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/rates/pd/avg/2011/2011_02.htm]. Facts regarding how and why the federal government keeps its books in this manner are covered in Just Facts' national debt research in the section entitled "Government Accounting."

- An Excel file containing the data and calculations is available upon request.

 

[117] Same as above.

 

© 2011 Just Facts

 

Information provided by Just Facts is not legal or investment advice.

 

 

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